Mortar exchange kills thirteen in Somali capital

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Somali officials have said that an exchange of mortar fire today has killed at least fourteen people in the capital, Mogadishu. At least 28 other people were wounded in the shelling between Islamist insurgents and pro-government forces.

The incident apparently started after the insurgents started firing mortars at soldiers, who responded by throwing shells.

"Fourteen civilians died and 28 others were wounded on Saturday night and Sunday morning in mortar shell exchanges in Mogadishu. Most of these people died this morning after an exchange of heavy shelling," said the vice chairman of Mogadishu's Elman Peace and Human Rights Organization, Ali Yasin Gedi, to the Reuters news agency.

Islamist rebels are in control of large parts of the capital and southern Somalia after a nearly three-year insurgency; they have said they plan to overthrow Somalia's current government.

Somalia's weak transitional government is under growing pressure to take tough measures against rebels, especially the al-Shabab group. Fighting in the Horn of Africa country has killed about 19,000 civilians and displaced another 1.5 million since the beginning of 2007.


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